29 March 2009

The Latest From Europe

The "G-20" are holding a summit in London next week, and yesterday thousands of activists hit the streets to announce their own agenda in advance of the meeting.

While the main action was in London, demonstrations took place in other European capitals. Here's a report from Berlin, with clips from Frankfurt.

Paris and other cities also saw protests. From what I've seen and read, these demonstrations were catch-all gatherings of all manner of grudges and demands -- the usual litany of grievances that come up on every occasion. These were anti-war, anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist marches, along with being anti-capitalist. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I wonder whether there was a chance of getting more people behind the economic and social agenda of the protests if they weren't burdened with the foreign-policy issues. There have to be people who don't give a damn about Afghanistan or Iraq or Israel or Palestine but have strong opinions on the economic crisis that perhaps shouldn't be linked to any international political agenda. I'm sure some of the protesters could argue how everything is tied together, but they might think about using economic issues to bring people into a movement and waiting until later to attempt to educate them about the rest. On the other hand, they may have everybody who's worked up enough about economic issues to march, and they had to bring in the internationalists and anti-imperialists to swell the ranks. I'd like to think that wasn't the case. In any event, I intend to keep an eye on what's up in Europe this week to see if the continent can offer any lessons to the disgruntled of America. Watch this space for more updates.

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